Yesterday, my Facebook feed popped up a picture of me in Costa Rica with a smile full of new teeth. For me, it was a reminder that it’s been more than three years since I had a whole mouthful of work done and that Gloria was expecting me to write a follow-up review of my experience. Okay, Gloria, today is the day!
Memory jogger: I chose to have my dental work done in Costa Rica because it saved me about 50% or more of the cost to have it done here in the States. Although I love my Louisiana dentist, he just couldn’t match the prices (he really tried but it just wouldn’t work for him.) So knowing that I needed at least six crowns and three implants with molar bridges, a top partial of molars, and new night time bruxism prevention devices, I sought out a GOOD dentist and checked prices in Costa Rica.
How do I know I got a “good” dentist? For starters, I did my homework and my research. From that, I found Bob Reardon, a man in the U.S. [i] who coordinates dental tourism for us gringos in need. After that, it was really easy. Someone picked me up at the airport and took me to my hotel (the Cristina in San Jose) where I got a special rate that included a wonderfully delightful breakfast each morning. On my appointment days, I was picked up and dropped off at the clinic which totally impressed me with its clean and modern sparkle. My dental team had credentials out the wazoo, spoke excellent English, and were so gentle I literally fell asleep in the chair on my first visit.
Because I had implants done, there were two visits involved. The last visit took place in August of 2014. I went by myself since it was a short visit and found myself getting a little punchy at times (see photo LOL) because I didn’t go out at night by myself. In the daytime, I saw as much of San Jose as I could. The Central Market was my favorite but honestly, the whole experience couldn’t have gone more smoothly. I left Costa Rica with molars for the first time in years and when I got home, we went out to eat steak because that was what I missed the most!
Now, some three years later, I never give a second thought to my new teeth. The crowns are still beautiful, the bridges on my implants are secure. Recently, I had a different dental issue, one of my U.S. crowns broke off at the gumline. Verdict: it cannot be saved. My dentist here can do a bridge ($2200) or a partial denture ($1440). Of course, I emailed Bob too and here’s what he told me (emphasis added by me):
Great to hear from you. Price for upper partial – $475. Night guards are $143 each. Time required 9 full business days. This works out to 12 nights. The price at the Cristina is still $75 cash per night.
I actually think that doing it in the States is best so that you can make adjustments after you use your partial for awhile.
This is why I love and trust Bob so much. Who else would tell me to stay in the U.S. because it’s better for ME? Plus, when I actually figured out the cost of a 12-night stay and airfare, etc., the trip was not cost effective. Another lesson learned, Costa Rica isn’t always the cheapest way to go, especially if you only need a little bit of work done. I will be going back though. My U.S. dentist has already told me I’m going to need implants on the top with a full denture attached to them. I don’t even have to ask Bob about that one; I already know I’ll come out way ahead if I do it in Costa Rica. I can smile, eat, laugh, and nothing looks or feels funny. (Except that hole on top where the U.S. crown broke.) When I go to the dentist for a cleaning, I get straight A’s and no problems. What’s not to like?
The bottom line is this: I would do this again in a heartbeat and I would take my husband, our girls, my BFF, my family, anybody I know in fact, to have dental work done in CR and I would happily go along as a tour guide of the sights in San Jose!
[i] Bob Reardon
Costa Rican Dental www.costaricandental.com
- Dental Tourism in Costa Rica: My Experience – Part 1, by Vikki Riggle
- Paul’s Monthly Tip to Live for Less in Costa Rica: Visiting the Dentist
- Paul’s Monthly Tip to Live for Less in Costa Rica: Visiting the Dentist, Part 2